How do you say “love is love” in Simlish? A new expansion pack of The Sims won’t be available in Russia due to the country’s prejudiced laws surrounding LGBTQ content.
The game in question is titled The Sims 4: My Wedding Stories, and allows players to organize, plan, and play out either the wedding of their dreams or a bridezilla’s ultimate revenge fantasy. The marketing surrounding the rollout of the expansion pack has highlighted the story of a (fictional, computer-generated) lesbian couple named Dominique and Camille as they prepare to walk down the aisle for their (again, fictional, computer-generated) nuptials.
In the trailer, the two go wedding dress shopping, attend a cake tasting and choose flowers for one of the characters’ wedding to an unnamed male character before…twist! They fall in love and marry each other instead, all set to a Simlish version of Etta James’ classic “At Last.”
Of course, this is only one of an endless number of directions the game can take at each player’s discretion. But the trailer’s focus on a (gasp!) same-sex couple raised major rainbow flags in Russia, where a restrictive law was passed in 2013 that bans “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships among minors.” The restrictive legislation affects much more than a computer game, sadly, effectively criminalizing the free speech of LGBTQ citizens and increasing anti-LGBTQ sentiment in the country.
Electronic Arts could have changed My Wedding Stories to comply with Russia’s law, but the game company decided not to. “As we moved through our development and brand storytelling process, we became aware that the way we wanted to tell Cam and Dom’s story would not be something we could freely share around the world,” the company said. “We are steadfast in upholding that commitment by shining a light on and celebrating stories like Dom and Cam’s, so we have made the decision to forgo the release of My Wedding Stories where our storytelling would be subject to changes because of federal laws.”
Interestingly, it should be noted that The Sims and all other expansion packs are available in Russia under a 18+ rating, even though users can freely create LGBTQ characters and pursue associated storylines within the game’s narrative.
Watch the trailer for The Sims 4: My Wedding Stories below.